Lonely Planet named Grand Rapids, Michigan the No. 1 travel destination for 2014. Groupon called it the No. 1 place to visit in the U.S. in 2015. And now, it's been voted the No. 1 National Emerging Destination in the 2015 Groups Today Readers' Choice Awards.
What's behind all this acclaim? A unique combination of big-city sophistication and small-town charm. Grand Rapids offers world-class art, food, beer and culture experiences—yet it's accessible and affordable for all.
Art is everywhere you look—especially during ArtPrize, when 1,500+ artists from around the world exhibit their work all over downtown Grand Rapids. ArtPrize takes place from late September to early October every year.
Art lovers can get their fill year-round at three first-rate art museums, including Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, home to the breathtaking new Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden. Professional ballet, opera, symphony and theater companies offer plenty of options for performing arts patrons.
Culinary art is also in abundance. New York Magazine advised its readers to "Go Gourmet in Grand Rapids" in 2015, touting local chefs' use of the region's agricultural bounty. Local food is highlighted at the Downtown Market, where farmers and artisan vendors offer just-picked produce and fresh-made goodies. The Market is a stop on the Grand Rapids Food Trail, which features 30+ delectable destinations exemplifying the city's leading-edge food culture.
The Beer City Ale Trail, named for the Beer City USA title awarded to Grand Rapids, includes 40+ craft breweries, distilleries and cideries. Guided tours are available at various breweries including Founders Brewing Company, consistently named one of the world's top five breweries.
Group travelers will also enjoy the new Tanger Outlet Mall, with 80 designer discount stores, and two traditional malls filled with the hottest brand names. For more information on shopping and other group activities, visit ExperienceGR.com.